It’s long overdue, finally, MCRhookup get over to Prestwich on a Saturday night! Hop on the tram, twenty odd minutes out of the city centre and BOOM – Prestwich.
We went especially to check out husband and wife labour of love, Basil + Lily. This little Italian cafe and wine bar is still fairly new but since day one has been bringing a taste of Italia to Bury New Road. It’s all inspired by their love of travelling Italy, the couple even got married in Florence. With spring here we needed some sunshine and good wine in our life so Basil + Lily was top of the agenda!
We should just mention the owners in question aren’t Mr Basil and Mrs Lily, this rustic little place’s name came from grandparents who were both born and raised locally. They were “remarkable people so we’re proud to be able to use their names for such a cosy local meeting place full of food & wine, coffees & cocktails and live music” owner Anna Moss told MCRhookup. That’s a good enough reason for us.
Speaking of good, let’s get stuck into some of their Italian produce… after trying and testing hundreds of foods and wines the Menu has be curated to showcase the finest and most authentic products from across ‘the boot’. Expect some familiar names but also get ready to enjoy some fresh faces that you may have never heard of from small, independent vineyards from every region.
As the clock strikes wine time we decide to dive into a few of their reds. First up a San Marzano ‘Talò’ Primitivo Di Manduria.
This is a rich, opulent, wine with vibrant flavours of ripe cherries and plums with subtle overtones of vanilla. We hoped it’s warmth and velvety texture would compliment our selection of meats and the sweetness of the finish would work well with some of the different chosen cheeses.
We also enjoyed a glass or two of a classic Santa Cristina Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the ‘Ripassa’ Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore. The former is full bodied and well rounded with a distinctive bouquet of red berries, with fruity jammy notes and hints of spice. The latter, a deep ruby red with intense yet fine aromas from its mixture of grapes. It too is full bodied and velvety on the palate, perfetto.
The Wine List at Basil + Lily is really competent without being intimidating or overwhelming, if you’re not sure just ask! The staff know their stuff and were more than happy to help pair grapes with plates. Depending on your mood or the weather or both it’s going to be really easy to make excuses to keep coming back to try different combinations and that’s before you even get to the cocktails, dangerous!
Anyway, we had better eat something. The food side of the Menu offers loads of classic Italian goodies for you to happily snack on with a drink as well as some more substantial sharing boards for feasting. The vibe is definitely sharing – from small plates to large platters & baskets of bread etc. roll your sleeves up and dig in with family or friends.
Spoilt for choice once again we aim for their sort of ‘Greatest Hits’ option; the Grande Selezione. This bad boy offers up a mixed selection of any four cheeses and any four meats from the rest of the Menu accompanied with olives, sun dried tomatoes, dips, marinated artichokes, grilled marinated onions, spicy red pesto all of course served with olive oil & balsamic vinegar and a selection of bread.
Our four meats included:
FENNEL SALAMI – Loved by Tuscans, a delicate salami flavoured with fennel seeds.
BRESAOLA – Delicious air dried salted beef.
NDUJA – Spicy, spreadable pork sausage.
PROSCIUTTO CRUDO – Dry cured ham – one of the most well-known and popular meats steeped in tradition and quality.
And the four cheeses:
BUFFALO MOZZARELLA – Made from the milk of Italian water buffalo, easily the tastiest and creamiest form of mozzarella.
DOLCELATTE – Blue cheese meaning ‘sweet milk’ with a delicate flavour.
PECORINO – Dry salted hard cheese with a strong flavour.
TALEGGIO – Semi soft cheese with a strong aroma but mild in flavour.
The Grande Selezione is all things to all people, if you don’t like what you’ve created it’s basically your own fault! Joking aside, what’s not to like?!
After all that delicious food and vino we kicked back to drink in a live acoustic set and some classic cocktails. Limoncello Spritz helps freshen up the palate with its blueberry & basil garnish whilst a Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, gin AND Prosecco) is the perfect party starter or night cap alike.
The quality on offer for the money at Basil + Lily is pretty special. We’ll definitely be back to work our way through that Wine List and hoover up any of the dishes we didn’t get to try first time round. Coffee and a sandwich here midweek could easily turn into evening drinks and nibbles. If you’re a local… lucky you. If not… with Prestwich Metrolink station basically opposite – you’ve got no excuse!
Basil + Lily , 449a Bury New Road, Prestwich M25 1AF